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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 02:37 AM   #1
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Clients stealing ideas and materials for their own use

okies, heres teh situation.

I send out demo dvds of my work to potential clients.

now one instance came where i only recieved teh dvds back, while the cover itself was taken.

I have a dual sided printing kit and so my covers are pretty much like the commercial DVD's ou get at your local store.

The thing is though, is that my DESIGNS are all my own, with specific layout designs used to take advantage of the disc placement and logos.

Ive spoken wiht my lawyer, and taking these layout ideas is a breach of my intellectual property, as well as asset property that, by them not returneing the actual cover back to me, means theft.

he also said that if i wrte to them, they can pretty much wipe their bums with the "Cease and Decist" notification. but id rather write to them before taking legal action..

any ideas?? Anyone been ina similar situation??
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 03:52 AM   #2
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Peter, "borrowing" ideas is common. The "lifting" of actual artwork is theft. Just burn them in court---but make sure they're not bums, because you can't squeeze water out of stones. :-))
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 02:43 PM   #3
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Ideas are not copyrightable. They have to copy your original expression. So if they did you could sue. But they'd have to clearly be copying original elements - not just "where the logo is placed" or the font. As for the theft, sure, but how much is a single DVD cover worth as a piece of personal property? $2? I don't think it falls under grand larceny.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 12:34 AM   #4
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Choose your battles.

Peter J.,

First, I can't believe you expect anyone to return a demo DVD.

Demos, especially in this day and age, like AOL disks, usually go on a one way trip.

Second, what makes you think they are stealing your property, intellectual or otherwise? Do you have any proof?

Now, I'm confused, you wrote of a "Cease and Desist" order. Cease and desist from doing what? You can't stop doing something unless you started doing it to begin with.

Have you seen your designs incorporated into things that you did not work on or being used without your consent?

I think that all of us have lost a jewel case or insert at one time or another in our lives. Could that have been the case with these folks?

As Peter M. queried, how much is that DVD cover worth, and let's include the cost of paper, printing, etc?

See what I'm getting at?

It just 'aint worth it.

RB
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Old March 5th, 2004, 01:01 PM   #5
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I too was confused.

I am on the verge of sending out DVD's to unsolicited clients (i.e. brides-to-be).

Gee, I wonder if they do not mail back my DVD, can I send them a cease-and-decease letter? :-)

Just kidding.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 09:49 PM   #6
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Willfull violation of copyright can amount to $150,000 just in punitive damages even for a $2.00 CD cover.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 11:56 PM   #7
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Granted that copyright infringement is serious business, but I have yet to see ANY violation whatsoever in this case.

Going to a judge and jury and belly-aching that someone "took my DVD cover", even on the remote chance it ever gets to a court to begin with, is not going to get you $1.50 much less $150,000!

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Old March 6th, 2004, 12:57 AM   #8
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Didn't say there was a willfull violation of copyright I just made the point fyi.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 03:34 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Edward Kennedy : Willfull violation of copyright can amount to $150,000 just in punitive damages even for a $2.00 CD cover. -->>>

Thats the point.... I KNOW these people have kept the cover to request a similar design from their chosen producer.

the actual layout of my DVDs, ESPECIALLY placement of certian image types, image frame shapes and Trademark placements, layout size, Disc design and pretty much everythign they see are what i have produced.

These in turn make my product VERY different from the competitition. being different is one of my selling points.

As for Cease and Decist. Its a letter used to advise potential abusers of property to stop what theyre doing and to return whatever property (physical or intellectual) back to its owner. Its also there to advise them to stop using intlellectual property owned by me.

Its quite common among copyrights, working hard on something for someone to rip it is something no professional shoudl tolerate.

If you were a wedding videogrpaher, and your client only bought 1 copy on dvd, and TOLD YOU they had a DVD Burner and would make their own, wouldnt you do something about it? Wouldnt you at least advise them that its a breach of copyright? Considering YOUR paying for a license to reproduce copywritten music, and theyre breaching THAT license as well.

Same thing here.. difference though is that these people arent even buying my product, theyre taking ideas and using them for their own. And the potential to spread that to my competition is VERY REAL.

What i dont know wont hurt me, but what i do know shows me what lengths some poeple will go to.

As for the actual design layouts, think of it this way.. if you were a dress designer and you made the ultimate dress.. then someone borrowed it, took your design and returned it with NO PAYMENT for your hard work.. THEN they go to your competition for a cheaper rate, for a similar product, wouldnt you do something?

As for the physical property, thats not really an issue.





as for proof..
well retaining property which doesnt belong to them for one, and 2, advising them of any attempt at duplicating my designs would be a potential breach of copyright. FYI, all my work is copywritten, being that i pay to get my copyrights registered. I come from an audio production background and i have been doing this for many years.
I also carry a Dolby License.
My Dolby trademarks logos and acknowledgements are originals from Dolby labs.
But the difference is the logo placement within the design. Theyre not just thrown in anywhere like most people do.
More importantly, these have been verified and approved by Dolby Labs, and so my contract with Dolby also protects these designs, as Dolby now police these layout designs for each job i do. Any unauthorised use of Dolby Logos is a big no-no.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 10:45 AM   #10
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I think some parts of this thread represents how easily the intentions of comments can be easily misunderstood over the internet. If you notice any parts of these posts missing, it's cause I've taken the ol' klenzing stick to them.

Peter
You certainly have a valid concern about protecting your work. The lack of specifics in your first post was a little confusing, but with the last post, I think most of us get your concern.

Can you post pics of both your piece and the one the client has has derived from your original?
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Old March 6th, 2004, 10:18 PM   #11
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Thanks mate, i noticed the thread gettin a lil out of hand, so thanks for doing the chop.

im still in the process of getting a copy from her, and now, apparently, her excuse is that the cover was waterdamaged.

LOL

shes gettin married in may, so bout june i will know for certain to what extent (if any) any breaches have been made.

As for the initial post, it was more of ageneral comment on whether or not anyone has had to deal with this issue and what they had done to protect themselves more than anything.

thanks again for responding guys
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Old March 8th, 2004, 05:21 PM   #12
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Peter, I'm speaking as an AMATURE here and only relaying the experiences I've had, but from my perspective:

1) This business is F-ed up. There are a lot of people out there undercutting good work and then trying their best to mimic it.

2) The buyers usually don't care. They only want the cheapest price and if a "hack" can convince them that they can do just as good a job, they get it.

3) I'd have to agree that you probably shouldn't expect to get any demo disks returned. I've sent out ideas and disks to people frequently then never hear from them again.

As far as independent productions goes, I've met people who always think others around them are stealing their ideas. This one actor/writer I knew thought everybody that did a crime story stole the idea from him. I had some similar ideas to his and he would stop me in the middle of my description and say, "that's just like in my script"...

So you know what? I don't take any freakin' scripts from anybody any more! Do you know why people in Hollywood won't look at your script? That's WHY! Because if you get somebody to read your script and then they make a movie with any similarities, you have a law suit.

Perhaps a little off-topic, but that's why I don't even want to SEE junk from other people unless we're in a committed project.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 07:41 AM   #13
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"Thats the point.... I KNOW these people have kept the cover to request a similar design from their chosen producer."

First of all, there are too many Peter's here - too confusing. :)

Anyway, this happens all the time. Taking one graphic, looking at layout, colorscheme, font, etc. IDEAS, and making another ad using those IDEAS, is not copyright infringement. Just because, say, two people people use similar colors, or put their logos in the same place, does not mean they copied expression - they copied an idea.

Anyway, as we always say, this is NOT legal advice - so PJ, you should consult a lawyer for your own case who will do research just for YOU on your very specific facts. Plus, you need someone based in Australia too because, as I say frequently, I only know US, so don't consider this advice please. But for others who are interested in the general academic dicussion, that's my opinion.
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